Setting Standards for Team Work

“There is nothing more uncommon than common sense.” – Frank Lloyd Wright In our team building programs for leaders, I’ve worked with many managers from both public and private sector organizations. One of the questions I usually pose early on is, “How many of you have established a set of expected behaviours with your teams?” This is usually followed by a pretty sparse show of hands. I often don’t even get to use my second question which is, “How many of you re-examine these group norms periodically?” Many people dismiss these ideas with variations of the statement, “That’s all just common sense.” In my experience, common sense is a poor substitute for open discussion and agreement. What you can do: Here’s a quick team building exercise to help you open the conversation about your team interactions and establish some ground rules to make you more effective together. Introduce the topic at a meeting in which you have 30-60 minutes to dedicate to the initiative. Write out on a flip chart or include on the agenda the idea: “The development into a high performance team is a gradual and deliberate process. What can we all do ‘more of’ and ‘less of’ to move our team towards high performance?” Form subgroups of 3 to 5 people and give each a flip chart page. Have them divide the page into 2 columns. At the top of one column they can write the words “more of” and, at the top of the other, the words “less of”. Ask each group to brainstorm ideas for behaviours they’d like to see from themselves and their...